Cancer survivor Linda Ratcliff is on a mission to prove all her naysayers wrong.
That’s why from Aug. 29-30 Ratcliff and her team, the Cariboo Connection, will take part in the two-day, 200-kilometre Ride to Conquer Cancer bike trek from Vancouver to Seattle.
“It started out for me in 2007,” Ratcliff said, noting she received the devastating diagnosis that she had ovarian cancer. “I went through six months of chemotherapy in 2008 and [after becoming cancer free] last year I decided maybe I’d like to try this ride.
“My family all had a good laugh at me because I’m not an athlete, I’m not physically fit, so this has been a real journey for me.”
Her son-in-law, Jayson Forseille was the first to jump on board. Then, her sister, Marie Nygaard also took up the cause. More recently, Debbie Fisher and Janice Gustafson have joined the team.
“My son-in-law said if you’re serious, I’ll ride with you,” Ratcliff said. “Then, my sister, and now everybody in the family has a bike and everybody’s riding with me and getting ready.”
All of the money raised from the Ride to Conquer Cancer goes to the B.C. Cancer Foundation, an organization Ratcliff, now 56 years old, noted saved her life.
“That’s one of my reasons for doing this,” she said. “Chemotherapy is not covered under (B.C. Medical Services Plan). It’s covered by the B.C. Cancer Foundation. Chemo is $5,000 a pop and the reality is many people in this world can’t afford that, so we’re very lucky we have the foundation we do that can help people get through these times. When you’re told you have cancer you really don’t know which way to turn.”
Since last September Ratcliff has been training for the ride.
“It’s been a real journey for me. I’ll be elated if I finish,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of naysayers that think I’m not going to do it but, either way, it’s all about raising money for the B.C. Cancer Foundation.”
When she first began training Ratcliff said riding up a short hill was a challenge.
“Now, I can ride up the connector,” she said. “It’s made me much stronger and a physically fit person by setting this goal and I’m hoping it’s going to be a lifestyle changer. I hate it when people tell me I can’t do something.”
To help reach the team’s goal of raising $20,000 the team is hosting a steak night and silent auction from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Oliver Street Bar and Grill on July 25.
Tickets are $25 each with a portion going toward the ride and are available by contacting Ratcliff by phone at 250-267-2598 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are also available from any team member.
One of the silent auction items is a one-week stay in a condo at Fairmont Hot Springs for June of 2016.
“The condo sleeps 10 people and they’ll get the use of the golf course and all that,” Ratcliff said. “Then we’ve got lots of homemade items and several businesses have been donating.”
Anyone looking to support the team’s cause can also go online to make a donation by visiting http://va15.conquercancer.ca, then clicking on the donate link. You can then search for the Cariboo Connection either by an individual team member or by the team name.